Dark and dingy: A review of the Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2
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During the COVID-19 crisis, our team has temporarily ceased taking review trips and we are not publishing new flight or hotel reviews. While bringing our readers unbiased, detailed reviews of travel experiences is one of our core missions, now is not the time. We all love to travel and know you do too. So, to help keep you entertained — and maybe inspire you — we are publishing a selection reviews from 2019 and 2020, including the one below. Hopefully, this will help you once we’re all ready to start booking trips again.
Priority Pass has two lounges in Heathrow Terminal 2 — a Plaza Premium departure lounge and a Plaza Premium arrivals lounge. As I have no Star Alliance status, I’d used the departures lounge in Terminal 2 several times prior to my visit for this review, so I knew it quite well. But, I wanted to see whether it would go up or down in my estimations when actually reviewing it properly rather than just popping in for a quick breakfast bite before a flight.
The best way to get free access to this lounge is by using a Priority Pass membership. You can get a membership as a complimentary benefit of The Platinum Card from American Express UK. Alternatively, you can get access when booking in advance online from £38.
The lounge is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The lounge is located on the right just after clearing Terminal 2’s security. It’s also clearly signposted throughout the main Terminal building should you decide to do some duty-free shopping before heading to the lounge.
It’s almost as if the lounge was designed to model Cathay Pacific’s airport lounges — although likely with very different budgets. But Plaza Premium slightly missed the mark. Despite what these photos might suggest, the lounge is rather dark and dingy due to there being no natural light at all. Worst of all, that also means that there are no views whatsoever for AvGeeks and plane spotters visiting the lounge.
The entrance is grand and reminiscent of a hotel lobby, complete with a bar to the left.
The bar is quite separate from the main area of the lounge and therefore has a slightly more relaxed and private feel, which I liked.
There are various different seating areas available to suit workers, relaxers, eaters and even sleepers.
These rather sought after private zones with small sofas were occupied for the entire hour that I was in the lounge.
Seating is predominantly made up of rows of comfy grey armchairs, the majority of which have access to a table, power outlet and, more importantly, a very bright lamp — necessary to see anything in this somewhat cave-like lounge.
There is a dedicated café-style seating area close to the buffet area for those who prefer to have sit-down meals — always a bonus.
I set up shop at this high-table seating area, which was well equipped with power outlets and USB ports. I find these areas more comfortable for working and eating when in a lounge.
For those who prefer a bit more privacy, there is a section near the bathrooms of enclosed, padded, all-purpose seats that are great for working, reading or cosying up to watch something on Netflix before your flight.
Charging points are aplenty, though I noticed that outlets are limited to just U.K. and USB connectivity — bring an adapter if your plugs use a different model.
On the face of it, the fact that the decor reminds me even slightly of Cathay’s lounges means that the designers likely have done something right. Given that it’s the only Priority Pass lounge in the departures terminal means that the footfall is probably quite heavy. This shows through various scuffings, marks and stains that can be seen about the place. A spruce up could do with being on the cards.
Food and drink
I’ve never been disappointed with the food in this lounge, and this particular visit was no exception. There were three solid hot main meal choices — Thai green chicken curry, and beef meatballs in a tomato sauce with rice as the accompaniment, and then a creamy mushroom farfalle pasta dish that was being refilled when I took this picture.
I opted for the meatballs and wasn’t disappointed. That said, I think I probably prefer the breakfast offering in this lounge.
In terms of cold options, there was a make-your-own salad area next to various other pre-made salad pots and cheeses.
Water and soft drinks were available but only at the main buffet area of the lounge as well as the bar.
And, of course, the all-important coffee. Well, it was bang average I’d say, but at least there’s a machine. If you’re more of a tea drinker, then there was a variety of different Twinnings options to choose from.
It’s worth noting that in this lounge, you’re entitled to a maximum of two free alcoholic beverages, which can be beer and wine. Spirits and Champagne are offered, though you’ll have to pay extra to indulge.
The bathrooms continued with the Cathay Pacific lounge vibe. Despite how many people were in the lounge, the bathroom was clean on both occasions that I visited. The Priority Pass website states that there are showers (for a fee), but I can’t recall ever coming across them during any of my visits to the lounge.
Outside of the bathroom, there is good news for those who don’t have their own personal device with them, as there’s a computer at a private workstation, complete with lamp.
And, of course, the usual generic lounge reading material.
On the face of it, the food in this lounge is really quite good. It’s also very well organized as far as the seating areas for passengers wishing to do different activities. In that sense, it feels quite organised. The main problem with this lounge — especially for AvGeeks — is that there are no windows whatsoever. This means runway and apron views are nonexistent, and there is no natural light at all, making for a rather claustrophobic feel.
Is this the worst Priority Pass lounge out there? Absolutely not. The food is decent, and you’re permitted two free drinks. It’s surely a more relaxing vibe than in the busy terminal. But if you’re looking for windows for some AvGeek spotting, head elsewhere.
Featured image by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy